Ukraine's agriculture ministry said on Tuesday that farmers had sown a total of 2.18 million hectares of winter crops as of Sept. 26.

The area included 1.024 million hectares of winter wheat, the ministry said in a statement.

Ukraine is a traditional grower of winter wheat, which accounts for at least 95% of its overall wheat output.

The ministry also said farmers had sown 74,000 hectares of winter barley and 1.038 million hectares of winter rapeseed.

Producers plan to sow 4.4 million hectares of winter wheat, 692,100 hectares of winter barley and 1.2 million hectares of winter rapeseed this year.

Ukraine is a major grain producer but a wartime agreement enabling safe exports of grain via its Black Sea ports collapsed in July when Russia pulled out of it.

Ukrainian weather forecasters said this week the prolonged absence of rain in most Ukrainian regions had created unfavourable conditions for sowing and development of winter crops.

The forecasters say most regions saw no rain for 30-40 days and soil drought continues and deepens in 50-60% of areas under winter sowing.

Ukrainian media have carried reports that farmers in the southern region of Odesa have suspended sowing because of the drought.

Ukraine harvested 22.2 million tons of wheat in 2023. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Editing by Timothy Heritage)